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How to visit Saudi Arabia from UAE, South Africa, Argentina again?

Saudi lifts some travel bans

The once closed and mysterious Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now known to be the most tourism friendly country in the world.
The country is taking a front row in world tourism leadership.
Today the Saudi Ministry of Interior confirmed it will reopen the Kingdom to its neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, to South Africa, and to Argentina.

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  1. Travel will once again be allowed between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, South Africa, and Argentina as of Wednesday, September 8. These countries were just removed from the Kingdom’s travel “red list.”
  2. The decision to remove the travel ban is based on evaluation of the current COVID-19 situation in the Kingdom, the Ministry explained.
  3. The Ministry of Interior stated that the way to stop COVID-19 infections from spreading was to continue to practice preventive measures, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and sanitizing.

As of today, Tuesday, September 7, 2021, there were 138 new cases of COVID-19 and 6 more people died from the coronavirus. To date, 545,505 cases have been reported and 8,591 people have died.

What the Kingdom is doing now

Currently, Saudi Arabia is pushing a vaccination campaign to achieve herd immunity of 70% of the population fully immunized. So far, the country has achieved 45% fully inoculated and 63% who have received the first dose. The government anticipates achieving herd immunity by early November.

In addition to its vaccination program, the country has set up testing hubs and treatment centers, helping hundreds of thousands of people.

Just a month-and-a-half ago

At the end of July 2021, Saudi Arabia had set a 3-year travel ban for its own citizens if they violated the ban set in place and traveled to any of the countries on the Kingdom’s “red list.” In addition to the 3-year travel ban, heavy penalties would be laid down upon return.

Included on that travel ban list were the countries being lifted tomorrow – UAE, South Africa, and Argentina.

What is required to travel to Saudi Arabia?

As of August 1, 2021, Saudi is open to vaccinated international visitors traveling on a tourism visa. Travelers will also need to have COVID-19 insurance while in the Kingdom. The cost of this insurance will be included in the fee for the tourist visa. To check a country’s eligibility for the eVisa program by checking the listing on VisaSaudi page. All countries not listed can also apply for a consulate tourist visa through their nearest Saudi Arabian Embassy via www.mofa.gov.sa

All visitors arriving in the country with a valid tourism visa must provide evidence of a full course of one the 4 vaccines currently recognized: 2 doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or a single dose of the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson.

Guests who have completed two doses of the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines will be accepted if they have received an additional dose of one of the four vaccines approved in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has opened a web portal for visitors to register their vaccination status. The site is available in Arabic and English.

Travelers arriving in Saudi Arabia are also required to provide a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure and an approved paper vaccination certificate, certified by the official health authorities in the issuing country.

There is no quarantine requirement for vaccinated travelers to Saudi.

All travelers entering on a previously issued tourism visa will be required to pay an additional fee of SAR 40 at the airport of their arrival to cover insurance for any COVID-19 related medical expenses.

Travelers are advised to check the current entry requirements with their chosen airline before they purchase a ticket.

Who is still on the “red list?”

Taking out the 3 countries to be taken off the list tomorrow, the following countries are temporarily unable to travel to the Kingdom:

– Afghanistan

– Brazil

– Egypt

– Ethiopia

– India

– Indonesia

– Lebanon

– Pakistan

– Turkey

– Vietnam

For further information, contact help.visitsaudi.com.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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